What Working Moms Want: 6 Must-Have Benefits

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There’s no denying the importance of a gender-balanced workforce. From greater profitability to access to a wider talent pool, companies that strive for gender diversity can reap a host of powerful benefits.

However, thanks to the pandemic, many women — and working mothers in particular — have left the workforce, and they’re not necessarily anxious to return. In fact, when TopResume asked more than 1,500 working mothers in the US if they were planning to return to the workforce, 69 percent said they intended to remain at home as full-time caregivers for the time being. Only 31 percent said they planned to return to work within the next 12 months. On top of that, 55 percent of those still working said they would voluntarily leave their jobs if it were feasible.

The events of the past year have forced many women to reevaluate their priorities and make some difficult decisions, particularly when it comes to what they want in their work lives. If and when they plan to reenter the workforce, many of these women will be evaluating job opportunities with new criteria in mind.

If your company wants to attract more women, it needs to offer benefits that help them succeed in their careers, feel supported at work, and enjoy a healthier work/life balance. Here are a few of those benefits:

1. Flexible Schedules

When TopResume asked working moms what matters most to them when evaluating job opportunities, flexible schedules tied salaries and bonuses for the No. 1 spot. Companies that offer employees the flexibility that helps them juggle their careers and household responsibilities are especially attractive to working moms. Your organization can offer this flexibility in various ways, like allowing full-time or part-time remote work, flexible scheduling, and job-sharing (where two or more people work on a part-time basis to perform the role of one full-time job).

2. Unlimited Vacation Policies

Unlimited vacation policies first gained popularity with tech companies and startups, but they are now finding their way into the recruitment and retention strategies of companies of all shapes, sizes, and industries. Providing an unlimited vacation policy is yet another way your company can give working moms the flexibility they need to care for their families without missing out on critical vacation time to recharge their batteries. When your employees can take a day off here and there to get their kid to the dentist or attend their school recital without worrying about whether or not there’s enough vacation time left for the family trip to Disney, you’re showing them you care about and understand their needs.

3. Competitive and Equal Pay

If you want to keep your employees happy — and attract more women to your workplace — you need to ensure everyone feels compensated fairly. Not only should your company keep an eye on the job marke t to ensure wages are in line with competitors’, but it should also pay attention to internal salaries to ensure that all employees, regardless of gender, are paid fairly based on their job-related skills and performance. Create a culture of transparency, in which topics like compensation are openly discussed, and you’ll attract more top female talent to your team.

4. Paid Parental Leave

The US is one of the few developed countries around the globe that does not have a national policy providing new parents with paid time off to care for their children. By offering paid maternity leave, your company will automatically become more attractive.

If you really want to rise to the top of the “Best Companies for Working Parents” lists, take your policy a step further and offer gender-blind paid parental leave to all parents-to-be, regardless of whether they have given birth, gone through a surrogacy arrangement, or chosen adoption.

5. Childcare and Family Care Benefits

One of the main reasons women left the workforce in droves during the pandemic was to care for their children, whose schools or daycares closed during the lockdown. While most facilities are reopening across the country, finding affordable and quality daycare continues to be a concern that prevents many women from rejoining the workforce.

Companies that offer childcare solutions for their employees are incredibly attractive to working mothers. For example, some companies provide on-site daycare facilities or summer programs for older children, while others offer stipends or discounts for childcare providers located near the office. In addition, some employers have contracts with concierge services that can find childcare at a moment’s notice when a babysitter backs out at the last minute.

6. On-Site Amenities and Other Perks

The more perks your company offers that make people’s lives easier, the more top talent you’ll attract and retain. While not every company can afford to install a gym or staff an on-site daycare center, it is fairly simple to convert a small conference room into a lactation room or strike a deal with a local dry cleaning service to pick up and drop off employees’ laundry at the office.

With a little creativity, your company can provide many small perks that will save its employees — and working moms in particular — lots of time, making it easier for them to balance their workloads and household responsibilities while still carving out a little time for self-care.

As your office prepares to reopen and establish a new normal during the post-COVID recovery, use this opportunity to introduce new benefits that promote gender diversity and equality by better accommodating the needs of working mothers.

Amanda Augustine is the resident career expert for Talent Inc.’s suite of brands: TopResume, TopInterview, and TopCV.

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By Amanda Augustine